Jan. 16, 2014
Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said her team played well on both ends of the court (Anthony Hall photo)
By Phillip Marshall
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Running, leaping and swarming everything in white, Auburn's women's basketball team put Alabama down and out before it was even halftime on Thursday night at Foster Auditorium.
In the first half alone, the Tigers held Alabama to 5-of-30 shooting, blocked six shots, forced 13 turnovers, shot 51.5 percent from the field, scored the final 17 points of the half and raced away to a 41-14 lead. Alabama was done.
The second half was for appearances only as the Tigers romped to a 61-39 victory before an announced crowd of 2,453.
Auburn, with its second road win, improved to 11-6 overall and 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference Alabama fell to 8-9 and 1-3.
Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy told her players that dealing with junior point guard Daisha Simmons, averaging 14.9 points, 5.2 assists and 5.9 rebounds a game, would be a key. They dealt with her, all right. Simmons was 0-for-11 from the field, scored two points, had three assists and seven turnovers.
"I was just really proud of the young ladies for coming out in the first half and just setting the tone right away," Williams-Flournoy said. "I thought they did a really good job of changing defenses. We wanted to keep Simmons off balance a little bit, because she's a very good point guard and that's all we could do."
The Tigers, with a significant size advantage, owned the pain in avenging last season's galling 71-61 loss here to an Alabama team that would win just two SEC games. They outscored Alabama 30-14 inside, won the rebounding battle 52-38 and blocked 10 shots, five by Hasina Muhammad.
Sophomore forward Tra'Cee Tanner was a force inside with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and four steals. Senior Tyrese Tanner, Tra'Cee's older sister, had 15 points, nine rebounds, an assist and three blocks. Freshman guard Brandy Montgomery had 10 points.
Auburn's pressing defense forced 21 turnovers and held Alabama to just 21.7 percent shooting on 13-of-60.
The first half, Williams-Flournoy and her players agreed, was the Tigers' most complete of the season.
"I think this is the best we've done all year," Tyrese Tanner said. "I'm proud of us for doing that. I think we should have carried it over to the second half."
Williams-Flournoy nodded in agreement.
"I thought that was our best of on offensive end and defensive end (together)," Williams-Flournoy said. "To hold Alabama to 14 points in the first half was very good defense."
And for Tyrese Tanner, who made her last visit to Tuscaloosa, there was sweet redemption.'
"It was great," Tanner said. "We were really hurt last year that we lost to them. I'm glad my team came out here today and got this win."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: